The season is in full swing now after opening night last week and there are some interesting matchups to look for in week 2. It will be interesting to see how teams continue to adjust and gel as the season is mivong along. Teams like The Vets, Regeneration X and District 6 will look to improve on disappointing starts to the season, while Hong Shing, Kings and Bel Air will look to keep a 0 in the L column. Lets take a closer look at this weeks matchups:
8pm – The Vets (0-1) Vs. Hong Shing (1-0)
The defending champs came out and made a statement in week 1 with a convincing win over District 6. The Vets had a hard time in their opener, and will be looking to avoid another slow start like they had week 1. Hong Shing can hurt you in a variety of ways, but transition is a calling card of theirs. With so many weapons offensively, when they get in the open floor it becomes a nightmare for defenders. If The Vets can control the pace and be effective on the defensive board they could give Hong Shing some trouble. Hong Shing will need to be careful defensively as the vets move the ball well for good shots.
9pm – District 6 (0-1) Vs. Regeneration X (0-1)
This is a matchup of two teams looking to bounce back after tough opening week losses. District 6 revamped their roster and ate still looking for the chemistry to build. They have a size advantage on Regeneration, and should look to exploit that especially on the offensive glass if are cold from outside like last week. Regeneration will need to execute offensively and move the ball for some open looks. They get stagnant at times and resort to one on one battles which doesn’t bode well against a team like District.
10pm - Kings (1-0) vs. Bel-Air Academy (1-0)
Both teams got W's but won in very different ways. The Kings spoiled The Vets debut in the league with a blow out defeat. Paul Blake was 2 points shy of 50 and don't forget about 15 rebounds and 9 steals. Kings ran away with it but Bel-Air will be more prepared for this game knowing what they're up against. Bel-Air didn't play a great game, but played well enough to get a win. They put in the effort, outhustling and outrebounding their opponents to earn an opening night victory. Big question going into this game is who guards Bibby? Will they double? Will they triple? Can they match the offensive output of the Kings? Lots of question marks but it should be a good one.
The depth on the team is ridiculous as they showcased in last night’s 80-42 win over Box Out. Brandon “Bird” Chase went off for 26 points and Bobby Colorado added 17 off the bench. Delly Thomas continues his great all-around play with 12-8-7 and was a perfect 3/3 from the field. Oh yeah, the game… at the half, it wasn’t that bad, What’s Luv led 41-25, but after that it was all What’s Luv as they outscored Box Out 39-17. With no D’Andre Hospedales the leagues leading scorer, rebounder and steal getter, Box Out did not have a chance. Box Out could not stop the offensive onslaught and shot the ball in the low 30s. Box Out falls to 0-4 while What’s Luv keeps their perfect record intact at 4-0.
They didn’t play perfectly but the new look Unruly looked good in a W over S.W.I.S.H. Chris Bongolan made his debut and had a nice 12-3-3 game. Cruz and Gulam added 13 and Zac Bendahan led with 17-9 in the victory. Unruly continues their dominance on the glass outrebounding S.W.I.S.H. 44-26 which helped lead them to +12 FG attempts and +8 FT attempts. S.W.I.S.H. struggled from the field and could not keep Unruly off the glass. Unruly had 18 offensive rebounds and that’s the game right there. Orlando Paul led S.W.I.S.H. with 14 points and Michalski added 13. Unruly picks up their 3rd straight win while S.W.I.S.H. drop their 2nd in a row.
The left handed trio went in last night contributing 85% of the team’s total points as Grind Time picked up another tight win. Rookie Jonathan Harvey lit it up with 32 points on 13/20 with Norman Penola adding 23-7-4. Grind Time shot 50% from 3pt range and did an excellent job dishing the ball with 19 assists. Yes, The Investment Academy should walk away with some positives despite the loss. They were shorthanded with only 5 players and somehow kept things competitive. Trevor Mann had a great bounce back game with 19-13-6-3, Edwards added 18-6-4 and Wong with 13 and 6 steals. Grind Time has won 3 in a row while The Investment Academy drops their 3rd straight.
On paper, you expect a What’s Luv blow out. What’s Luv the only undefeated team…Box Out the only winless team. What’s Luv is coming off a 38 point win and have yet to be challenged this season. They’ll meet #1 pick D’Andre Hospedales who is an MVP candidate despite the team’s record. For Box Out, they’ve got to defend, defend and defend. What’s Luv leads the league in scoring and it’s not even close. They picked up some size with acquisition of Andrew Mitchell so that should help. For What’s Luv, it’s really about continuing to play unselfishly and if that formula is working I don’t see them changing anything at all. They lead the league in 3 point shooting at 40% (36/90) and field goal percentage at 47.7%. If Box Out can’t bring down those percentages they don’t have a shot.
Both of these teams made some changes so expect some unfamiliarity early on in the game. For SWISH, they picked up Gabriel Ferriera and rookie Hussein Mahdi. Both are going to bring some much needed energy and defense. Last week they had a hard time keeping their opponents off the glass so these additions will help right away. They’ll need everyone to chip in especially against Unruly who have a tonne of size upfront. For Unruly, they shipped out one of their bigs, but thanks to their depth at the 4-5 spot, they’ll be OK. They picked up the perfect PG for their team in Chris Bongolan who is going to make things easier for everyone on the squad. It seems like this team has so much talent they can get a big performance from anyone on the roster. In their first 3 games, 3 different players have led in scoring. This should be a great game.
Two teams going two different ways, but maybe that changes on Monday night. The Investment Academy shook things up a bit and maybe that will help. Last week, The Investment Academy couldn’t recover after a slow start and looked out of sync all game. That can’t happen on Monday. They’ll need to get to work early because the Grind Time offense is just as dangerous as What’s Luv’s offense. The Investment Academy needs to focus on getting high quality shots early in this game and defending the perimiter. They allowed 14 three pointers last week and Grind Time can do that too. For Grind Time, they’re feeling good going into this game. Grind Time shouldn’t go into this game overconfident though, it’s not like they’re playing flawlessly. They just edged SWISH last week and went through some poor sequences on both sides of the court. This is a game they should take serious as they look forward to What’s Luv the following week.
These guys are bullying their way through the schedule so far. The chemistry was instant and it’s no surprise they haven’t made a trade.
After a loss on opening night, Grind Time has won 2 straight. They too have yet to make a trade and look better with each passing week.
Huge trade sending maybe the biggest man in the league for a much needed true PG. Unruly addresses a major need in a point guard and still have one of the biggest teams in the league.
It’s a roller coaster and on this roller coaster, no one is safe (as their top pick commented on Instagram). Preston Singh has been the most active and on paper he’s pulled off a few great deals.
After a 38 point loss to What’s Luv you knew GM Mike Myers was going to mix things up. Maybe the change helps turn things around for them. Too much talent for this team to be under .500 right now.
Yikes, 0-3 but there’s good news. #1 they’ve picked up a big that they desperately need and #2 they haven’t been THAT bad. 2 of the 3 games have been winnable games so it’s just a matter of doing the little things.
Still very early, but here’s how I’ve got them at the moment.
#1 - Jevon Jacobs – 2nd in scoring at 21.3 PPG on 52.1% FG shooting. Keeps improving every game. Might even be in the MVP Race.
#2 - Jonathan Harvey – 4th in scoring at 16.7 PPG on 40.4% FG shooting. Doesn't look like a rookie out there. Part of that deathly left handed trio.
#3 - Trevor Mann – Averaging 11.3 PPG and is tied for the league lead in offensive rebounds. A little bit of rust but he'll get that past that.
#4 - Asim Mirza – Averaging 11.0 on 53% shooting. Every Coach loves a player like him. 2-way player, a big that can shoot and pass. Super efficient.
#5 - Bobby Colorado – Averaging 8.0 PPG on 54% shooting and shooting 57% from long range. Would average more points on any other team. Does a great job in his role.
Honourable Mentions: Hussein Mahdi, Sean Wong and Japrell Morgan.
It might be a bit too early to rank MVP’s so I’ll share 5 players in no particular order that could be in the running.
Yes...I know...the team is 0-3 but the man is posting some monster numbers. He leads the league in 3 major categories. He leads in PPG, RPG and SPG. He also leads in free throws made and is 2nd in BPG. Only thing that’s missing is a winning record.
When it’s closing time, don’t think there’s anyone better right now. Our version of James Harden is averaging 14.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 7.0 APG (Tied for 1st in the league) for Grind Time who have won 2 in a row. And who says Penola/Harden doesn’t play D? Penola is tied for 2nd in blocked shots.
He could average more points per game, but he’s putting winning ahead of individual scoring. He’s averaging a solid 11.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG (3rd in the league) and 7.0 APG (Tied for 1st in the league. Right now he’s quarterbacking a 3-0 team and leading the team’s best offense.
He doesn’t do anything flashy, but he simply gets the job done. He scores efficiently, 2nd in the league in rebounding and can knock down the three ball as well. Bendahan > Battier lol.
It didn’t take long for this rookie to be talked about. From 9 points on opening night to 32 this week, what a jump Jacobs has made in such a small amount of time.
Honourable Mentions: Andre McDonald, Milad Gulam, Kyle William Edwards.
For SWISH, they're going to get a lot of everything from Hussein Mahdi. Mahdi can score, rebound and block shots. He's 6th in the league in rebounding at 9.3 per contest and 2nd in blocks per game at 1.3. The only downside is his struggles from the free throw line. Great add on for SWISH as they rank 2nd last in rebounds averaging 32.7 rebounds per game, compared to Unruly and The Investment Academy who are tied for 1st at 43.0 rebounds per game.
For The Investment Academy, Tyrell Moodie fills a spot
He's shooting 46.2% and shooting 50% from the field. He doesn't shoot enough in my opinion and should look to assert himself a bit more. Moodie also helps on the defensive end as he sits in 4th in steals per game at 2.3 per contest. A weakness for The Investment Academy so far has been three point shooting where they have been awful shooting 15% which is good for dead last in the league. This acquisition helps in that area.
For SWISH, they're getting a guy who does a little bit of everything in Gabriel Ferreira. He can shoot the ball, rebound the ball and play D.
He's shooting the 3 at 33.3% but will likely get more open looks with the bigs SWISH has in the paint.
For Box Out, they've picked up a player that hasn't been able to find a role with SWISH as one of four guards. He now joins a team that could use a player of his skill set. No player has shot the 3 well at all. If Bradley can become that guy it's going to be a huge plus for Box Out.
A busy week with a total of 3 trades and I think all of them have been good ones. Each team was able to address a major weakness with these deals. Look for more activity as we near closer to the trade deadline on the 28th.
If you haven't heard already, the Raptors practice facility (formerly known as the BioSteele Centre) has been re branded and re named to the 'OVO Athletics Centre'.
The announcement came in the mid morning of March 14th as the G-League's Raptors 905 played on the 'Welcome OVO" court hours before the Raptors were set to play LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in a 'Drake Night' game.
"The Boy" and Massai have cooked up another well executed plan that will leave its impact on generations of basketball fans and Torontonians. Globe and Mail writer Ryan Wolstat casually suggested that we all "Just call it the 6 God Centre" but some of our favorites include 'The Raptors Turn Up Facility' 'The Owls Den' or 'The Aubrey Graham Centre for Performing Arts'
Give credit to the The Toronto Raptors Global Ambassador and his team for adding another staple in the history books. We are unsure what else this facility will be used for (beyond a practice facility for the Raptors) or what may lie ahead on the road ahead to OVO's involvement in the development of Canadian Basketball.
However the story unfolds we know that the Basketball Gods are looking down at this and are in favor of this decision.
See OVO Athletics Centre Promo Video via Toronto Raptors YouTube where Massi and Drake shed light on the Raptors OVO partnership and footage of Drake being presented the Key to the facility while on Tour in Europe:
Comp Tuesdays are BACK! We officially kicked off another Tuesday season last night with some close games as the Winter 2019 season is now underway. And, in case you missed the news via @megacitybasketball IG account. It is officially Bibby Time on Tuesdays now. Paul Blake made his Tuesday debut last night to the tune of 46 pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 9 Stl and 2 Blk. If that's not putting an entire division on notice I don’t know what is. This season is looking like its going to be intense!!! Here is what went down at Hoopdome last night:
A revamped Bel Air Academy came out and played a solid game against another team that made big changes in Regeneration X. Bel Air displayed some discipline and sound ball movement throughout the night on the way to the win. Regeneration X were unable to match them on the boards and were unable to get into a solid flow most of the game. Both teams will need to improve their 3 pt shooting (7-49 combined) going forward if they want to contend.
The Kings jumped on The Vets early and did not let up. A 3pt barrage from the Kings was on display all night (19-43 as a team) saw them on cruise control with a 20 pt lead at half. The Vets had some flashes in the second half, as it seemed they had found a rhythm against a tough opponent who had a guy that no one in the GTA really has an answer for. If they were able to take better care of the basketball (21 Steals for Kings) they might have been able to hang in a bit,as they were actually effective shooting the ball as a team.
The Kings were not a one man army in the game though, as they shared the ball well and had 3 players in double figures out side of Bibby.
This was the matchup of the evening, the 3 time defending champs Hong Shing taking on the same District 6 team they snatched victory from in the final of the Fall 2018 season. However, it turned out to be somewhat anti-climatic as Hong Shing were ready from the jump and took an early lead on District and did not look back. Hong Shing were comfortable and playing with a great pace/rhythm all night, seeming to do what they wanted when they wanted. District did not have an answer defensively all night. They also did not take care of the ball well (15 Steals for Hong Shing) and you could tell that this new version of the team (6 new players) has not jelled quite like last seasons juggernaut. That being said, District made a late run led by Akeem Isaac that got the lead down to 3 before they ran out of steam. This matchup is always intense, and could end up being a finals preview.
Each week we highlight the top performances in the division in this section. Here is a look at the top individual performances of Week 1:
Paul Blake - Kings - 46 Pts 15 Reb 4 Ast 9 Stl 2 Blk 11 3pt Made
Ashton Graham - Hong Shing - 28 Pts 5 Reb 3 Stl
Akeem Isaac - District 6 - 24 Pts 5 Reb 3 Stl
AK Johnson - Regeneration X - 23 Pts 4 Ast 2 Stl
Zach Wright - Kings - 20 Pts 9 Reb 4 Ast 2 Stl
Here is the schedule for Week 2:
8:00 PM - The Vets (0-1) Vs. Hong Shing (1-0)
9:00 PM - District 6 (0-1) Vs. Regeneration X (0-1)
10:00 PM - Kings (1-0) Vs. Bel-Air Academy (1-0)
2 vets get swapped and it’s a clear win-win for both teams.
Without adding up average height, I can guarantee pre-trade that Unruly’s average player height was by far the tallest of all teams. Unruly is off to a good start at 2-1, but it is very obvious that they lack the presence of true PG. Chris Bongolan is exactly that. Bongolan is a traditional pass first PG, a PG that doesn’t turn over the ball often and can splash a three if open. He’s going to create all sorts of opportunities for guys like Cruz and Asiamah who don’t have to worry about being a distributer. Unruly already leads the league in assists, but that’s only going to go up with this acquisition of Bongo.
It’s time to make moves for Box Out after a 0-3 start. The #1 pick in the draft D’Andre Hospedales has proven once again that he’s worthy of the top selection, but he’s going to need some help. Hospedales is currently leading the league in points and rebounds and if he’s your best rebounder…that’s a problem. Box Out is dead last in rebounding on both the defensive and offensive glass. They’re also 2nd last in blocked shots. Insert Andrew Mitchell. The big man is going to help in both areas immediately. Look for Mitchell to make a difference starting this Monday.
Expect more trades to get done with only 2 weeks left before trade deadline!
It came down to the wire, but it is Grind Time that escapes with a W. Both teams struggled from the floor, both shooting around 35% and both struggled from 3 point range. In the end, it was Norman Penola with a clutch 4 point play that helped lift Grind Time past SWISH. Harvey scored a team best 16, Penola had an all-around game with 15-10-7 and Mahmood added 13. For SWISH, Michalski had 14-9, St. Paul and Paul added 12 each. SWISH fall to 1-2 while Grind Time improves to 2-1.
It really wasn’t a contest as What’s Luv blew this game wide open in the early minutes. Rookie Jevon Jacobs went off for 32 points, McDonald added 17-10 and Thomas with a near triple double with 10-10-9. What’s Luv really looked to pass the ball and make the extra pass which resulted in great looks. 25 assists tells you these guys love to play with together and it’s no surprise they sit atop the league standings with a 3-0 record. For the Investment Academy, it’s obviously not working and look for a deal to be made. Edwards led with 16 with both Mann and Mahdi adding 12 each.
Unruly looked like they were going to cruise to a victory but Box Out showed some fight down the stretch. A monster performance from Zac Bendahan with 15-16-7 plus hot shooting from Milad Gulam help Unruly get back in the win column. Box Out had their opportunities down the stretch but missed them and also missed 9 free throws which could have totally changed the end result. A dominant performance on the glass for Unruly outrebounding Box Out by 14 and led to a lot of 2nd and 3rd chance points. Hospedales gave everything he could and did get help, but obviously not enough. Hospedales with 28-13-4-4 and Sangar added 14 on efficient shooting.
Stay tuned for MVP Rankings, Rookie Rankings and more!
Competitive Tuesday action is back March 12th @ Hoopdome and despite the extra wait, we are looking forward to an exciting opening week!
8:00 pm - REGENERATION X vs BEL-AIR ACADEMY
Battle of two returning teams that are hungry to redeem themselves from their last Competitive Tuesday appearances. Regeneration X last season was in Summer of 2018 where they ran into some key injuries and ultimately lost in the first round of playoffs. This team will be featuring a few familiar guys from the On Point Free Agent League that we will be keeping track of. Bel-Air's last appearance was back in Winter 2018 and we are exited to have their energy back at Hoopdome. They started the W2018 season slow but was able to get it going a bit later in the season. When these guys get the momentum going they are fun to watch.
9:00 pm - KINGS vs THE VETS
Both teams are making their Competitive Tuesday debut and will battle it out toe to toe. Kings are rumored to have a few players back from 30+ Sunday team and if this is the case, lookout for an offensive style of play. They play great defense however we expect them to have lots of options on the offensive end. The Vets are new to the Megacity Community and we will know early on in the game who emerges as the standouts . Anytime a new team joins, we can never know what we will get until game time.
10:00 pm - HONG SHING vs DISTRICT 6
In a rematch of last seasons finals, these two Competitive Tuesday titans will clash in the final game of the night. Hong Shing will be looking to pick up right where the left off and dominate the season. Fresh off a 3rd straight Championship, Hong Shing is always a tough match up for any team. District 6 is back with a few key pieces missing from last season, however, the replacement guys aren't too far off if not better. Coach Willy Phan is relentless in his pursuit of a Championship and expect his guys to be ready for the challenge.
Good luck to everyone on opening night!